DB11 quickens your heart
ASTON Martin is on a roll and as part of its ‘second century’ plan it will be producing a new generation of SUV cars from an all-new factory at St Athan in South Wales.
In the meantime, the great British marque has recently recommissioned its famed Newport Pagnell facility for specialist projects and continues to make models at its new home in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
That’s where the latest DB11 is made and it is the natural successor to the DB9 – the new figurehead for a series so many know and love, like the DB2/4, DB5 and the DB10 created for the James Bond film franchise.
The V12 engine in the DB11 is the most powerful regular production engine in an Aston Martin with advanced mechanical software and fuel technology to stretch economy without detracting from the performance and aural attributes of the powerhouse.
The figures really speak for themselves with an acceleration from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, a top speed of 200mph and fuel consumption of 24mpg.
What is not seen in the raw statistics but felt though the driver’s hands, feet and seat of pants is the way the DB11 steers, rides, handles and brakes, inspiring and impressing with every journey.
The new electronic brain in the V12 includes driver-chosen GT, Sport and Sport Plus modes to progressively sharpen responses from the engine and its highly sophisticated eightspeed ZF transmission which can be left to its own devices or manually massaged to bring out the best.
The cockpit is dominated by a 12-inch liquid crystal display for speedometer, tachometer and essential driver information and a centrally placed eight-inch infotainment screen for navigation, the high quality sound system and wifi connectivity, together with cameras and sensors to aid parking.
Very wide opening doors give excellent front seat access but it’s more of a fiddle to squeeze into the two bucket back-seats and the legroom behind is very short and contrasts with that in front.
Headroom is adequate in the front, less so behind, and there is poor oddments room throughout and a relatively small boot of just 270 litres for a grand tourer of such calibre.
Fortunately, the DB11 is quick enough to make longer journeys easily accomplished and you do so in superb comfort thanks to the new platform and suspension.
It is slightly firm but not at all hard, it soaks up bumps and ridges without complaint or loss of composure and when you are pressing on around some twisting tracks it sticks like glue thanks to its very big wheels and tyres with little roll or pitching.
The handling is inspiring and safe, the electric steering pin sharp and progressive while the massive steel brakes result in dramatic deceleration.
It’s a big car but with familiarity it actually feels smaller and that’s down to its dynamic qualities and responses, its road-holding and agility. A driver is unlikely to ever find its limits of adhesion.
The leather-filled interior is impressive and individual areas can be finished from a lengthy list of choices, but I thought the “marbled” door casings in the test car looked out of place.
The ultra smooth exterior lines of the DB11 really flow from front to back, around both ends and over the roof in a most satisfying style which captures airflow to improve stability and cooling at the same time.
Outwardly it engenders comments about its styling and inside it makes occupants comment on its luxury, but for the driver it simply makes your heart beat faster and feel more at one with the world, and your DB11 or course.
ASTON MARTIN DB11 V12 COUPE